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King urged over vote

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King Norodom Sihamoni (left) greets Sam Rainsy during a meeting at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh in 2013. afp

King urged over vote

Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesperson Soky Eysan has condemned a letter Sam Rainsy wrote to King Norodom Sihamoni asking him not to cooperate with the CPP’s campaign to get people to vote in the national elections.

He said the letter was inappropriate, and interfered with and interrupted the King’s affairs.

Rainsy, the former leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), on Thursday revealed a letter he wrote to the king requesting him not to encourage people to vote in July. He posted the letter on his Facebook a day after it was addressed to the King.

“I allow myself to write to you to respectfully, asking you not to cede to the demands of the government and the CPP, which seeks your intervention to encourage Cambodia’s population to go to the polls on July 29.

“A respected monarch should not accept or reinforce such pressure. This pressure is very badly viewed by a large part of the country which, following the CNRP’s call, is preparing to boycott the sham election of July 29,” the letter reads.

Rainsy has called the coming elections “fake” and a “meaningless farce” but declined further comment on Sunday.

Eysan, however, condemned Rainsy’s letter as an “interference into the affairs of the King”.

“I see that this ill-intentioned character, Sam Rainsy, is interfering in the affairs of the King. This is an interruption to the role of the King,” he said on Sunday.

“The appeal in the form of the letter to the King reflects clearly that the convicted Sam Rainsy has failed again and again, and finally he calls on the people to boycott the election, saying ‘staying at home we win’. No citizen will follow him.”

Kong Sam Ol, minister of the Royal Palace, could not be reached for comment, while Oum Daravuth, a Royal Cabinet member, declined comment.

Political ananlyst Lao Mong Hay also declined to comment on Rainsy’s letter, but he said Rainsy should show politeness and respect to the King by not revealing the letter before it had actully reached His Majesty.

Hang Vitou, another analyst, said no one could force the King to do anything. “Talking about the effect [of the letter] . . . there is no effect on the King. But for the people, he still has some supporters,” Vitou said.

However, he said if the King does not speak in favour of the elections, it would be a victory for Rainsy. But if the King appeals to people to vote, it would mean Rainsy’s letter fell on deaf ears.

Previously, in February – four months ahead of the commune elections last June – the King issued a letter calling on people to go out and vote.

So far, however, there has been no word from him on the upcoming elections.

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